French Impressions

Clara Hugo (soprano), Jan Hugo (piano)

This programme takes the listener on a voyage through French Impressionism in music, playing with images and reflections, like in a mirror or a painting. The Peacock and the Swan from the Histoires Naturelles by Ravel depicts these two birds in very human and humoristic terms. The peacock is waiting for his fiancée to arrive and is strutting about, disturbing all the other birds; the swan is gliding on the water in a very romantic way, trying to catch clouds, when suddenly the poet realises that it is only gulping down worms in a most unsophisticated manner. The Miroirs by Ravel evokes images in music, firstly the heavy and dark atmosphere of Oiseaux tristes, the sad birds, then the mighty ocean in Une barque sur l’ocean and the sarcastic Spanish jester in Alborada del Gracioso. These all seem to bring paintings to life. Debussy’s Ariettes Oubliees are once again sophisticated images brought to life through sound and text and the programme ends with the mighty Feux d’Artifice by Debussy, where the pianistic virtuosity depicts fireworks lighting up the sky.